Police were called out to what appeared to be a crowded fight in a parking lot in the 3100 block of South Avenue just before 11:00 p.m.

"It was reported that several males were fighting," said Missoula Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh. "The officers arrived and made contact with persons at the scene that informed us that there had been essentially a meeting between two different groups of people engaged in a confrontation and, at one point, 18-year-old Mateo Whatley was described as producing a handgun and striking another man in the jaw with it."

The man who had been hit in the jaw went to the hospital where police later found the victim. The main suspect, Mr. Whatley, was confronted by police twice.

"[Whatley] was discovered in a vehicle leaving the area at the time of the initial response. He was initially released, however, after speaking to the victim at the hospital he was located again and subsequently arrested. At this point we are investigating all aspects of this... why it occurred, and why Mr. Whatley thought it was ok to bring a handgun."

Welsh says police are also interested in hearing more from those that witnessed the fight about what the confrontation was about and what happened before the pistol was drawn. Whatley is being held in the Missoula County Jail on a felony assault with a weapon charge.

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